Wednesday, January 20, 2010

E-Courts In India Does Not Exist

Use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for judicial purposes in India received another major setback when even the Delhi High Court failed to establish the proposed e-court. At Delhi High Court the litigants and lawyers cannot file cases electronically, evidence cannot be submitted through Internet and many more prerequisites of e-courts are still missing. It seems, India has once again failed to establish the first e-court of India.

The establishments of E-Courts in India have always remained a distant dream. Time again there has been press releases and official statements regarding establishment of e-courts in India. However, these are mere media rumours and there is no relief for the litigants, witnesses, lawyers and judges.

The latest court to join this race is the Delhi High Court. It has been widely publicized in the media that Delhi High Court would open the first e-court of India in the first week of December, 2009. From the past experience it was absolutely clear that nothing like that would happen. The history repeated once again and the Delhi High Court also failed to establish the first e-court of India.

E-court presupposes, at least, a facility to file cases electronically. Till now there is no e-filing facility provided by the Delhi high Court at its website. If cases cannot be filed and fought online, there is no question of a court be called as e-courts. If a litigant has to go all the way to the concerned court, then there is no need of any e-courts at all. E-courts facilitate a timely, economical and hassle free litigation system. The same cannot be achieved through an e-court established on paper alone.

The fact remains that India has no e-court. E-courts are much more that mere connectivity and computerisation of traditional courts. The moment e-filing, presentation, contest and adjudication of the cases in an online environment would start, India would surely be capable of establishing e-courts. In the absence of these capabilities, we have to wait for few more years to get speedier justice in India and all media rumours must be ignored.


Intelligence Agencies In India Must Be Under Parliament Scrutiny

Intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies in India are practically operating without a “Parliamentary Scrutiny” and “Constitutionally Sound Legislation”, says Praveen Dalal. Earlier experts like B.S.Dalal have warned that India urgently needs a “Legal Framework” for law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Perry4Law has provided a “10 Point Legal Framework for Law Enforcement and Intelligence Agencies in India” to the Government of India. India has finally given some hints regarding adopting these suggestions. Even political parties of India have now shown interest in this much needed requirement.

The CBI is not at all independent and has been used by successive governments to serve their purposes. Favouring amendments in the Indian Police Act, the former CBI Director Joginder Singh said major reforms for efficient and effective policing are need of the hour. This reiterates the earlier demand of experts in this direction.

Fortunately, the Vice President of India Mr. Hamid Ansari has suggested bringing the country's intelligence agencies under legislative oversight and the same has been supported by most political parties. Some have expressed their desire that the idea needed to be discussed further.

Congress spokesman Manish Tewari, who is a vibrant reformer in this regard, said that the vice president had raised a very pertinent governance issue. "There is a need to both legally empower and create a mechanism of oversight for our intelligence and law and order agencies. It is an idea whose time has come.

Observer Research Foundation in its report observed that intelligence and enforcement agencies need to have a legal framework and their working should be brought up to speed with present day realities.

Time has come for the Parliament of India to step in and make necessary arrangements on the fronts of scrutiny, accountability and legislation for law enforcement and intelligence agencies of India.